Channel 4 Dispatches - GRTPA Response

Having watched Dispatches last night, the Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association believe that the programme was racist, unbalanced and extremely offensive to the Gypsy and Traveller Community.

We were disgraced by the content of it and have already seen an increase in the prejudice our community faces as a result.

The Association would like to ask NPCC lead for GRT communities to support a national review into the service provision by police to GRT communities.

This review should focus on identifying and eliminating internal systematic institutional racism and bias.

The need for this is not only evidenced by the Traveller Movement report into relationships between GRT and Police but also the fact a uniformed police officer on national television felt it was acceptable and safe to be openly racist. His remarks show a complete lack of understanding of the complexities that exist in community policing and indeed policing today.

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National Police Diversity Awards - 2019

In 2019 the GRTPA has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards and subsequently, shortlisted to receive the award of Community Organisation Award for Race, Religion & Faith.

We believe the GRTPA has been nominated for the community organisation award due to the positive impact we are making in an area of the community that has typically suffered awful discrimination and who have low confidence in public services.

GRTPA is working everyday towards making a change so that the Gypsy Roma Traveller community have confidence in the services they seek.

We are making positive changes by challenging discrimination and through education and as a result Gypsy, Roma and Travellers are seeing that our actions are steps in the right direction and an increased confidence in our work and principles.

Despite not winning the award, we feel extremely proud to have been nominated and shortlisted and it shows the progress the GRTPA has made and appreciation of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

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2019 Progress for The GRTPA

In May 2019, a GRTPA representative became a panel member at the Traveller Movement to advise and recommend to the non-governmental organisation on strategies for change to promote diversity within the UK for Irish Travellers and Gypsy communities of the UK.

In July 2019, representatives of the GRTPA attended the Welsh assembly on behalf of Romani Arts to highlight the need to provide better safeguarding to LGBTQI individuals from within the GRT communities of the UK. The current trends in suicide are linked by some to individuals being unable to access support that is available to non-marginalised groups. This is part of the GRPTA’s work to reduce the number of suicides from within the community and enable people to be open about sexuality.

In December 2019, director Peter Kotlar, alongside a fellow colleague and chair of the LGBT staff association at Cheshire, welcomed a group of Roma youths at the Cheshire Police HQ, working in conjunction with a Roma charity based in Liverpool. Peter and his colleague presented the various roles available within the Police service and the educational requirements for the roles. Many Roma youths have aspirations to join the Police however sometimes lack of knowledge and understanding of the recruitment process can hinder their progress. The GRTPA is keen on working with recruitment campaigns to try and recruit more people from GRT backgrounds within the Police service.

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